Now, I don’t normally comment on comic or graphic novel related stuff, as that’s in the realm of the BookShelf crew, however, this story, courtesy of The Mary Sue (via CBLDF) piqued my interest a little.
Twenty-year-old Crafton Hills College student Tara Schultz and her parents are currently protesting the inclusion of four specific graphic novels in her English 250 class, calling for the active “eradication” of these books from the system. While this is part of her major’s core requirements (she is currently an English major, seeking her Associate’s degree,) she was fully aware that the course was focused on graphic novels.
When the class reached the part of the course where the graphic novels in question were up as an assignment (this being after the end of initial free withdrawal period, January 30th,) Schultz found herself in shock at the graphic nature of the novels, which included “Fun Home” by Alison Bechdel; “Y: The Last Man, Vol. 1” by Brian Vaughan; “The Sandman, Vol. 2: The Doll’s House” by Neil Gaiman; and “Persepolis” by Marjane Satrapi.
“It was shocking,” Shultz said. “I didn’t expect to open the book and see that graphic material within. I expected Batman and Robin, not pornography.”
This past Thursday, Tara, her parents and some of her friends were protesting the inclusion of these graphic novels in front of the school’s administration building.
Schultz also believes that the professor, Ryan Bartlett, who has been teaching the course for 3 semesters, should have warned students about the content of the assigned readings.
Bartlett, noting that this is the first time someone has complained about the content, had this to say in response:
“I chose several highly acclaimed, award-winning graphic novels in my English 250 course not because they are purportedly racy but because each speaks to the struggles of the human condition,” Bartlett said in an email Thursday. “As Faulkner states, ‘The only thing worth writing about is the human heart in conflict with itself.’ The same may be said about reading literature. The characters in the chosen graphic novels are all struggling with issues of morality, self discovery, heart break, etc. The course in question has also been supported by the faculty, administration and approved by the board.”
The board has agreed to place disclaimers on English 250 syllabuses, upon meeting with Greg Schultz, Tara’s father.
Editor’s Note: I could have sworn the initial story said she was TWENTY, not TEN, or, FIFTEEN. I’m shocked that this came to be, especially since Schultz not only had the opportunity to research what she would be reading, but also to drop the class if she was offended by the contents of the graphic novels after researching them. She went through with it, so in my opinion, she shouldn’t complain. However, in this world of entitlement and self-fulfillment, things like this are bound to happen. I’m not as surprised at as I am disappointed in the lack of maturity and foresight from not only Tara Schultz, but her parents as well.